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Better Things is an American comedy-drama television series created by Pamela Adlon and Louis C.K. for FX, starring Adlon as a divorced actress who raises her three daughters by herself.[3] FX gave a 10-episode order on August 7, 2015.[4] The series premiered on September 8, 2016.[5] On September 20, 2016, FX renewed the series for a second season, which premiered on September 14, 2017.[6][7]

Better Things
Better Things Title Card.png
Genre Black comedy
Created by
Opening theme "Mother" by John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band
Composer(s) Jay Gruska
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 15 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)
  • Louis C.K.
  • Pamela Adlon
  • M. Blair Breard
  • Dave Becky
Camera setup Single-camera
Running time 20–25 minutes
Production company(s)
Original network FX
Original release September 8, 2016 (2016-09-08) – present
External links




  • Pamela Adlon as Sam Fox, a single mother and working actress raising three daughters in Los Angeles.[8]
  • Mikey Madison as Max Fox, Sam's volatile and angry but essentially decent oldest daughter.[9]
  • Hannah Alligood as Frankie Fox, Sam's gender-identity issue facing and radical middle daughter.[9]
  • Olivia Edward as Duke Fox, Sam's adorable and still generally sweet-hearted youngest daughter.[9]
  • Celia Imrie as Phyllis, Sam's mother who is an old-time British woman with some looming physical and mental issues.[10]


  • Diedrich Bader as Rich, Sam's gay best friend, who tells her the truth and vice versa.
  • Lucy Davis as Macy, Sam's close friend who has serious personal problems.
  • Alysia Reiner as Sunny, Sam's newly divorced best friend ever since her family took in Sam when Sam's father threw her out of the house when she was a teenager.
  • Greg Cromer as Jeff, Sunny's pot-smoking and lazy ex-husband.
  • Rebecca Metz as Tressa, Sam's understated and very competent manager and friend.
  • Patricia Scanlon as Joy, one of Sam's friends.
  • Mather Zickel as one of Sam's ex-boyfriends.
  • Matthew Glave as Xander, Sam's ex-husband.
  • Henry Thomas as Robin, a single father and Sam's current boyfriend.

Notable guest starsEdit


The pilot was ordered by FX on January 18, 2015. It was written by Louis C.K. and Pamela Adlon, and directed by Louis C.K.[11] The story is semi-autobiographically based on Adlon's life.[12] The pilot was picked up for a 10-episode first season on August 7, 2015.[9][12]

The title of the show comes from The Kinks song, "Better Things".[13]

Series overviewEdit

Season Episodes Originally aired
First aired Last aired
1 10 September 8, 2016 (2016-09-08) November 10, 2016 (2016-11-10)
2 10 September 14, 2017 (2017-09-14) November 16, 2017 (2017-11-16)


Season 1 (2016)Edit

No. in
Title Directed by Written by Original air date Prod.
U.S. viewers
1 1 "Sam/Pilot" Louis C.K. Pamela Adlon & Louis C.K. September 8, 2016 (2016-09-08) XBG01001 0.671[14]
Sam Fox is introduced as a working actress with three daughters (an angry eldest, a fiery middle, and a sweetheart youngest), various middle-aged men in her life, and an increasingly addled mom living next door.
2 2 "Period" Pamela Adlon Story by : Pamela Adlon
Teleplay by : Louis C.K.
September 15, 2016 (2016-09-15) XBG01007 0.570[15]
Sam hopes that she can no longer get pregnant, then has to handle her daughters' escalating bad behavior and her mom's heightened eccentricity.
3 3 "Brown" Nisha Ganatra Louis C.K. September 22, 2016 (2016-09-22) XBG01006 0.382[16]
Sam's latest acting work allows her to spend quality time with her best friend Sunny and less-endearing time with Sunny's nasty pothead husband Jeff. She also lands a date with a handsome African-American man but their dinner together at her house is ruined by Grandma Phil's racism.
4 4 "Woman Is the Something of the Something" Nisha Ganatra Pamela Adlon & Louis C.K. September 29, 2016 (2016-09-29) XBG01003 0.455[17]
Sam is briefly up for a leading sitcom role, but never knows about it because her agent doesn't want her to be hurt if (when) it doesn't pan out. A fire alarm brings chaos to the house, while a feminist event at Frankie's school brings her and Sam closer together.
5 5 "Future Fever" Lance Bangs Pamela Adlon & Louis C.K. and Cindy Chupack October 6, 2016 (2016-10-06) XBG01004 0.439[18]
Sam takes care of Frankie when she runs a high fever, Duke when she has coins to turn in at the bank, and Max when a frank look at her lackluster academic career has her sad over her unpromising college prospects.
6 6 "Alarms" Lance Bangs Pamela Adlon & Louis C.K. and Gina Fallore October 13, 2016 (2016-10-13) XBG01009 0.406[19]
The men are not alright as Sam has to deal with gross colleagues, her utterly useless ex, a sleazy fake-admirer, and even Sunny's zero of a hubby Jeff (when they find out he's on Tinder). But more interaction with an addled Phil brings some good work and cheer to Sam and her girls.
7 7 "Duke's Chorus" Lance Bangs Pamela Adlon & Louis C.K. October 20, 2016 (2016-10-20) XBG01005 0.460[20]
Sam clashes with the Mormon mom of a friend of Duke's, until they each come to understand the others' difficult situations. Max is worse to her mother than ever and Frankie concludes that there is God.
8 8 "Scary Fun" Nisha Ganatra Pamela Adlon & Louis C.K. October 27, 2016 (2016-10-27) XBG01008 0.381[21]
Sam warns Harvey, a boyfriend of Max's that she doesn't trust him around her daughter. Sam and Frankie play pranks on each other. Max is left heartbroken by Harvey when she is dumped, so Sam, Frankie and Duke stay at home instead of going out for Halloween to cheer her up.
9 9 "Hair of the Dog" Nisha Ganatra Pamela Adlon November 3, 2016 (2016-11-03) XBG01002 0.426[22]
Sam takes Max and her friend to a Joe Walsh concert where unexpected info is revealed.
10 10 "Only Women Bleed" Pamela Adlon Pamela Adlon & Louis C.K. November 10, 2016 (2016-11-10) XBG01010 0.547[23]
After a chaotic morning, Sam gets to work, but that's interrupted when Frankie is sent home from school and Max later tells her mom something about her sister.

Season 2 (2017)Edit

No. in
Title Directed by Written by Original air date Prod.
U.S. viewers
11 1 "September" Pamela Adlon Pamela Adlon & Louis C.K. September 14, 2017 (2017-09-14) XBG02001 0.528[24]
Sam has company over for a party. Tension is high between Sam and her daughter Max, who is dating Arturo, a man nearly twenty years older than her. Arturo was previously dating Macy, one Sam's friends. Max eventually reveals to Sam that she is in over her head and wants to end the relationship, but is scared to. Near the end of the party, Sam takes Arturo outside and tells him his relationship with her daughter is over.
12 2 "Rising" Pamela Adlon Louis C.K. September 21, 2017 (2017-09-21) XBG02002 0.492[25]
Sam breaks up with a boyfriend she hates, snarling at him after he calls her out for mistreating him that she disliked him from their first date, but was "too nice" to break up with him. Later, Sam goes on a weekend trip with her friends to the fancy home of Sunny's new wealthy boyfriend. However, she leaves the party and instead goes to a beachside motel to be alone. She fantasizes about driving back home to get her daughters and bringing them to the beach.
13 3 "Robin" Pamela Adlon Pamela Adlon & Louis C.K. September 28, 2017 (2017-09-28) XBG02005 0.498[26]
Sam befriends Robin, a single father. Sam is asked by Robin to go with him for a weekend gateaway to wine country and she leaves her obnoxious, squabbling kids behind as they whine about her. They have a nice time, but things get awkward when Sam requests that have separate rooms at the inn. Robin later apologizes for screwing things up and Sam still seems to like him.
14 4 "Sick" Pamela Adlon Pamela Adlon & Louis C.K. October 5, 2017 (2017-10-05) XBG02006 0.377[27]
Sam confides with Rich about her fear about her relationship with Robin; he's the perfect guy, but she's comfortable with being alone. Later, Sam's ex unexpectedly stays over for dinner.
15 5 "Phil" Pamela Adlon Louis C.K. October 12, 2017 (2017-10-12) XBG02007 0.520[28]
After Phil injures herself which lands her in the hospital, Sam contemplates on whether to put her into an assisted living, but she eventually decides against it and to take care of her mother herself. Robin meets Sam's children for the first time as they go out to dinner. Later, Sam goes to meet her ex (Mather Zickel).
16 6 "Eulogy"[29] Pamela Adlon Louis C.K. October 19, 2017 (2017-10-19) XBG02003 TBD
17 7 "Blackout"[30] Pamela Adlon Pamela Adlon & Louis C.K. October 26, 2017 (2017-10-26) XBG02009 TBD
18 8 "Arnold Hall"[31] Pamela Adlon Pamela Adlon & Louis C.K. November 2, 2017 (2017-11-02) XBG02004 TBD
19 9 "White Rock"[32] Pamela Adlon Story by : Pamela Adlon & Louis C.K.
Teleplay by : Louis C.K.
November 9, 2017 (2017-11-09) XBG02008 TBD
20 10 "Graduation"[33] Pamela Adlon Pamela Adlon & Louis C.K. November 16, 2017 (2017-11-16) XBG02010 TBD


Critical receptionEdit

Better Things has received positive reviews from television critics. The first season has a Metacritic score of 80 out of 100 based 31 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[34] Rotten Tomatoes gave the first season a 94% "Certified Fresh" score with an average rating of 8.08 out of 10 based on 54 critic reviews, with the critical consensus "Pamela Adlon's Better Things abstains from traditional sitcom sendups and forges a path all its own – in this bawdy, often hilarious and bittersweet ode to the daily highs and lows of being a single mother."[35]

The second season has received highly positive reviews from critics. On Metacritic, it has a score of 96 out of 100 based on 13 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim".[36] On Rotten Tomatoes, it has a 95% approval rating with an average rating of 9.2 out of 10 based on 19 reviews, with the critical consensus "Better Things' second season plays even more adroitly to its strengths, weaving confidently between stinging humor, caustic observation, and poignant drama."[37] In his review for Time, Daniel D'Addario wrote, "This is a huge leap forward for a show that was already quite strong. Adlon comes as close to a pure auteur as TV gets. That her story is one imbued with both sadness and light makes Better Things one of television's very best shows—in any genre."[38]


Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
2016 Critics' Choice Television Awards Most Exciting New Series Better Things Won [39]
Satellite Awards Best Actress in a Series, Comedy or Musical Pamela Adlon Nominated [40]
2017 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series Nominated [41]
TCA Awards Individual Achievement in Comedy Nominated [42]
Writers Guild of America Awards New Series Pamela Adlon, Louis C.K., Cindy Chupack, Gina Fattore Nominated [43]


  1. ^ Chavez, Danette (September 7, 2016). "Pamela Adlon chooses motherhood over martyrdom on Better Things". The A.V. Club. Retrieved August 29, 2017. 
  2. ^ Grierson, Tim (September 20, 2016). "How Pamela Adlon’s ‘Better Things’ Broke Through for FX (Critic’s Notebook)". The Wrap. Retrieved August 29, 2017. 
  3. ^ Haithman, Diane (January 18, 2015). "Better Things Coming For Louie Veteran Pamela Adlon – TCA". Retrieved August 13, 2015. 
  4. ^ Littleton, Cynthia (August 7, 2015). "FX Networks Gives Series Orders to Comedies Better Things, Cassius and Clay". Variety. Retrieved August 13, 2015. 
  5. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (June 16, 2016). "Louis C.K.-Pamela Adlon FX Comedy Series ‘Better Things’ Sets Fall Premiere Date". Retrieved July 6, 2016. 
  6. ^ Swift, Andy (September 20, 2016). "Atlanta, Better Things Renewed at FX". TVLine. Retrieved September 20, 2016. 
  7. ^ Pedersen, Eric (June 28, 2017). "'Better Things' & 'You're The Worst' Get Late-Summer Premiere Dates On FX, FXX". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved June 28, 2017. 
  8. ^ Van Bastelaer, Sophie (November 5, 2016). "All hail the rise of the reasonably competent TV heroine". Toronto Star. Retrieved November 8, 2016. 
  9. ^ a b c d Rose, Lacey (August 7, 2015). "Louis C.K., Pamela Adlon's Better Things Comedy Lands Series Order at FX". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 13, 2015. 
  10. ^ Petski, Denise (April 22, 2016). "‘Better Things’ Casts Celia Imrie; ‘Rectify’ Adds Rebecca Tilney". Retrieved August 19, 2016. 
  11. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (January 18, 2015). "FX Orders Comedy Pilot Starring Pamela Adlon From Louis CK". Retrieved August 13, 2015. 
  12. ^ a b Andreeva, Nellie (August 7, 2015). "Louis C.K.-Pamela Adlon Comedy ‘'Better Things'’ Gets FX Series Order". Retrieved August 13, 2015. 
  13. ^ Fernandez, Maria Elena (September 8, 2016). "Pamela Adlon Can't Believe She Has Her Own Show". Vulture. Retrieved September 12, 2016. 
  14. ^ Welch, Alex (September 9, 2016). "Thursday cable ratings: ‘Queen of the South’ ticks back up". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved September 15, 2016. 
  15. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (September 16, 2016). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Thursday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 9.15.2016". ShowBuzzDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2016. 
  16. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (September 22, 2016). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Thursday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 9.22.2016". ShowBuzzDaily. Retrieved September 22, 2016. 
  17. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (September 30, 2016). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Thursday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 9.29.2016". ShowBuzzDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2016. 
  18. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (October 7, 2016). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Thursday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 10.6.2016". ShowBuzzDaily. Retrieved October 7, 2016. 
  19. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (October 14, 2016). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Thursday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 10.13.2016". ShowBuzzDaily. Retrieved October 14, 2016. 
  20. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (October 21, 2016). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Thursday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 10.20.2016". ShowBuzzDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2016. 
  21. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (October 28, 2016). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Thursday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 10.27.2016". ShowBuzzDaily. Retrieved October 28, 2016. 
  22. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (November 4, 2016). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Thursday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 11.3.2016". ShowBuzzDaily. Retrieved November 4, 2016. 
  23. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (November 11, 2016). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Thursday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 11.10.2016". ShowBuzzDaily. Retrieved November 11, 2016. 
  24. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (September 15, 2017). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Thursday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 9.14.2017". ShowBuzzDaily. Retrieved September 15, 2017. 
  25. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (September 22, 2017). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Thursday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 9.21.2017". ShowBuzzDaily. Retrieved September 22, 2017. 
  26. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (September 29, 2017). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Thursday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 9.28.2017". ShowBuzzDaily. Retrieved September 29, 2017. 
  27. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (October 6, 2017). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Thursday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 10.5.2017". ShowBuzzDaily. Retrieved October 6, 2017. 
  28. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (October 13, 2017). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Thursday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 10.12.2017". ShowBuzzDaily. Retrieved October 13, 2017. 
  29. ^ "(#203) Eulogy". The Futon Critic. Retrieved September 19, 2017. 
  30. ^ "(#209) Blackout". The Futon Critic. Retrieved September 25, 2017. 
  31. ^ "(#204) Arnold Hall". The Futon Critic. Retrieved October 3, 2017. 
  32. ^ "(#208) White Rock". The Futon Critic. Retrieved October 10, 2017. 
  33. ^ "(#210) Graduation". The Futon Critic. Retrieved October 16, 2017. 
  34. ^ "Better Things - Season 1 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved September 3, 2016. 
  35. ^ "Better Things: Season 1". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved September 7, 2016. 
  36. ^ "Better Things - Season 2 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved September 15, 2017. 
  37. ^ "Better Things: Season 2". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved September 15, 2017. 
  38. ^ D'Addario, Daniel (September 14, 2017). "Review: Why Better Things Is One of the Best Shows on Television Right Now". Time. Retrieved September 15, 2017. 
  39. ^ Prudom, Laura (September 7, 2016). "Critics’ Choice Awards Reveal Most Exciting New Series Honorees". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 19, 2017. 
  40. ^ Kilday, Gregg (November 29, 2016). "Satellite Awards Nominees Revealed". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 19, 2017. 
  41. ^ "Better Things". Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Retrieved July 19, 2017. 
  42. ^ Stanhope, Kate (June 19, 2017). "'Handmaid's Tale,' 'This Is Us' and 'Atlanta' Lead 2017 TV Critic Awards Nominations". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 19, 2017. 
  43. ^ Petski, Denise (December 5, 2016). "WGA TV Nominations: ‘The Americans’, ‘Stranger Things’, ‘Westworld’, ‘This Is Us’ Among Nominees". Deadline. Retrieved July 19, 2017. 

External linksEdit